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Breast Cancer Diagnosis was No Surprise

Linda Nicholas’ mother and grandmother both had breast cancer, so when Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2022, she was not surprised.

Because of her family history, Linda is faithful in performing breast self-exams. She also never misses a mammogram. Linda lives in Geneseo, Ka

nsas, and travels to Great Bend for her primary care, where she sees Teri Turkle-Huslig, MD, at The University of Kansas Health System St. Rose Medical Pavilion. She has her mammograms at The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus.

“My doctor always pushed me to be proactive in self-exams,” Linda says. After finding a small lump in her right breast, Linda immediately scheduled another mammogram. “I was not happy when I found that lump.”

When the lump couldn’t be located on the mammogram, she underwent an ultrasound, which confirmed the lump she’d found. A biopsy confirmed she had ductal carcinoma in her right breast – the cancer was in a milk gland – and that the cancer had spread to one lymph node.

Linda made the decision to have a single mastectomy. She had the surgery July 1. “I took off 1 breast and it was no big deal to save my life,” she says.

Since her surgery, Linda is in the process of receiving 4 chemotherapy treatments. When those are complete, her care team will determine whether she’ll also need radiation treatment.

Family and faith give strength

“When I learned I had cancer, I got my prayer warriors together,” Linda said. “I have a wonderful support system in Geneseo and don’t know what I’d do without them.” That support system includes a friend who held the first fundraiser to help Linda.

That friend said that if a certain amount of money was raised, she would shave her head at the same time Linda lost her hair and needed her head shaved. The community came through, and they had their heads shaved at the same time.

On September 11, another friend hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help support Linda during her breast cancer journey.

“People come together when you need them,” Linda said. “I was overwhelmed with the love and support I received.”

The people who have come together to support Linda include her 3 daughters: Shannon Deines, imaging manager at the Great Bend Campus, Leslie Robl, who lives in Lyons, and Candace Nicholas, a nurse practitioner in Arizona.

“All 3 of my daughters were here with me when I had my surgery,” Linda says. The women had “Team Linda” T-shirts printed and wore them the day their mother had surgery.

Along with the support she gets from her daughters, Linda says her faith has played a significant role on her journey. “I fought for my life and God has held my hand through this whole thing,” she says. “I know I am going to be around to spend more time with my kids and grandkids.

“On paper, I have a curable cancer, and I’m determined to kick cancer to the curb,” she says.

‘Stay vigilant’

As Linda has shared her experience with others, others have shared their stories with her. “It’s an eye-opener. Once you share about your diagnosis, you realize how many other people have had breast cancer, too,” she says.

Linda is quick to point out that although she has a family history of breast cancer, even women who don’t have a history need to do self-exams and get their mammograms regularly.

Most women who have breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. A study in the journal Lancet found that about 15% of women with breast cancer have a family history.

“Years ago, my stepmother had breast cancer and no one in her family had ever had it,” Linda says. “It’s important to know that people who don’t have a history of breast cancer in their family still get breast cancer. Stay vigilant. Do your self-exams and be sure to get your mammogram.”

To schedule your 3D mammogram, call 620-791-6205.


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